World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of South America

Bolivia Travelling Guide
Bolivia Travelling Guide

General background: Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simon BOLIVAR, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825; much of its subsequent history has consisted of a series of nearly 200 coups and counter-coups. Comparatively democratic civilian rule was established in the 1980s, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and drug production. Current goals include attracting foreign investment, strengthening the educational system, continuing the privatization program, and waging an anticorruption campaign.

Area comparative: Slightly less than three times the size of Montana

Climate: Varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semiarid

Terrain: Rugged Andes Mountains with a highland plateau (Altiplano), hills, lowland plains of the Amazon Basin

Population: 8,445,134 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Quechua 30%, Mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 30%, Aymara 25%, White 15%

Religions: Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant (Evangelical Methodist)

Language: Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara (official)

Government type: Republic

Capital: La Paz (seat of government); Sucre (legal capital and seat of judiciary)

Legal system: Based on Spanish law and Napoleonic Code; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Economic overview: Bolivia, long one of the poorest and least developed Latin American countries, has made considerable progress toward the development of a market-oriented economy. Successes under President SANCHEZ DE LOZADA (1993-97) included the signing of a free trade agreement with Mexico and becoming an associate member of the Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosur), as well as the privatisation of the state airline, telephone company, railroad, electric power company, and oil company. Growth slowed in 1999, in part due to tight government budget policies, which limited needed appropriations for anti-poverty programs, and the fallout from the Asian financial crisis. In 2000, major civil disturbances in April, and again in September and October, held down overall growth to 2.5%. Bolivia's GDP failed to grow in 2001 due to the global slowdown and laggard domestic activity. Growth is expected to pick up in 2002, but the fiscal deficit and debt burden will remain high.

Communication/Telephone system: New subscribers face bureaucratic difficulties; most telephones are concentrated in La Paz and other cities; mobile cellular telephone use expanding rapidly, primary trunk system, which is being expanded, employs digital microwave radio relay; some areas are served by fiber-optic cable; mobile cellular systems are being expanded. Internationally, satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean).

Places of interest: Bolivia may be one of the poorest countries in South America, but its cultural wealth, the mindblowing Andean landscapes and the remnants of mysterious ancient civilizations make it the richest and most exciting destination for adventurous and independent travelers.

Travel Tips: The Chapare and Yungas regions have been recent targets of coca eradication campaigns. There have been reports of violence on both sides. The area should be considered relatively unstable. Travelers should consult their embassy prior to traveling to assess the security risk. Serious incidents involving the drugging and raping of tourists who've taken guided jungle and pampas tours with independent guides around Rurrenabaque have been reported. Female tourists should avoid taking tours on their own - stick to larger group tours run by reputable agencies. Avoid unlicensed guides by asking to see la autorización.